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Professor Warrick Couch to head Australian Astronomical Observatory



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SENATOR THE HON CHRIS EVANS Leader of the Government in the Senate Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research

MEDIA RELEASE

24 January 2013

Professor Warrick Couch to head Australian Astronomical Observatory

Distinguished astrophysicist Professor Warrick Couch has been appointed as Director of the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO).

The AAO is a division of the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.

Announcing Professor Couch’s appointment today Minister for Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans, said that he was well suited to leading the observatory’s work.

“Professor Couch is one of Australia’s leading astronomers and cosmologists,” Senator Evans said.

“Currently Director, and previously Australian Research Council (ARC) Professorial Fellow, in the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University of Technology, Professor Couch has a strong research history in large-scale galaxy structure and clustering.

“His research contributed to Professor Brian Schmidt’s Nobel Prize winning work on the accelerating expansion of the universe.

“Professor Couch has a strong understanding of the AAO, having been the Chair of the AAO Advisory Committee since its establishment in 2010, and prior to that the Chair of the former Anglo-Australian Telescope Board.

“He has also carried out much of his research at the Anglo-Australian Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory in NSW, a facility owned and operated by the AAO.”

“Professor Couch is ideally placed to contribute to the recovery of the Siding Spring Observatory, which was recently damaged by the NSW bushfires, and ensuring that the AAO continues to contribute to cutting edge research internationally.”

Professor Couch was joint winner of the Gruber Cosmology Prize in 2007. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, and was President of the Astronomical Society of Australia. He has also been a member of the Australian Research Council College which assesses research grant applications and provides advice to the ARC on a range of research related matters.

Senator Evans’ Media Contact: Amy McKenna 0408 570 603